What is Big Data?
According to Forbes, it is estimated that 1.7mb of data is created every second by each person.
That’s massive! This is why it is important that your business understands and actually maximizes the benefits of this cool technology.
In short, the term “Big Data” refers to data that is so large, that traditional methods no longer work.
“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.” – Suhail Doshi, chief executive officer, Mixpanel.
Big Data is defined by the three “V’s” – Volume, Velocity, and Variety.
It is easier than ever to produce, and collect a huge
amount of data in 2020.
However, despite the size of the data that exists today, it is also important to understand size doesn’t matter when given some context.
For example, sending an email with an attached file of 1GB is an example of BIG DATA because emails are not designed to handle such a big volume.
Moving onto velocity.
Having all the data in the world would be useless if your operation could not process the data quickly enough, and you’ll lose business opportunities within minutes!
Just imagine, YouTube with slow buffering??? Unacceptable!
For example, replying to your customer with an automated message is better than no response at all, because if they are not engaged, they may look for your competitors. You can also build a chatbot that can converse some simple messages, like an FAQ.
Data comes in various formats – structured, text, numeric data, video, audio, etc.
Besides, it is also important to have data coming from different sources. Having that, you can avoid bias in your data and better validate the final results.
Let’s say we are required to collect customer feedback, besides asking our customer to answer a few questions in a form, how about we record their facial expression also while answering the questions. That way, we’ll not only know their feedback but whether they are genuine, annoyed or just happy to provide us their opinion.
This, of course, has to be done with their consent and data privacy is a whole topic on its own that we might discuss in the future.
How Big Data could actually benefit your Business
Understanding Your Customer Better
Every customer is unique, but we want every custome
r to have the same pleasant experience with our product or services. This would require that every customer be given a personalized treatment, giving them what they want and also how they want.
Big data made it possible to narrow down your customers to more specific segments and offer them the best possible service you can.
A simple example is when you go to your usual cafe, and the barista already knows what type of coffee you want. A pleasant, quick and nice cup of coffee, just the way you like it.
Safety and Security
Safety and security is something no organization would compromise on. With the proper tools and methods, it is possible to utilize data to detect anomalies within your business.
Consider your email provider, ever wonder how they identify phishing and spam mails?
Yes! Big Data!
The method they used is called classification, and they do it by running millions of samples of what users have labeled as spam or phishing emails into their model, and that model helps identifies future emails.
This is crucial especially when your business has millions of transactions, and you need to identify that one anomaly.
Product Development and Driving Innovation
Diving into big data for product development could also be beneficial for your business. There is so much hidden information within the data your business produces, you might be able to build a product on top of it.
For example, if an eye clinic has a database of its patient’s eye condition, it can build an app to identify the patient’s eye condition using computer vision, allowing their patient to be able to do eye check remotely.
Identifying Hidden Costs
Running a company can sometimes be like a routine, and we may not notice some unnecessary expenses along the way. Indirect expenses take into account spendings from multiple departments and categories, making it a difficult task to keep track of.
Examples of indirect spendings are utilities, rent, filing, insurance, office technology, etc. For a start, companies can look into investing in IoT utility products, such as smart led light bulbs and thermostats. These items help measure the statistics of energy usage, and some even offer suggestions on how to cut down the utility bill. Thus, not only reducing cost but also reducing wastage.
So, where do we begin?
1. Don’t be afraid of Big Data
If investing in big data tools scares you because of the cost. Fret not, big data has been democratized for small and medium businesses, from storage to analytics systems. Some of these tools allow free trial or comes in subscription packages so that you can stop and change whenever the tool isn’t working for you.
Besides, there are also “pay as you use”, so you don’t have to be afraid of a starting cost, but you’ll have to pay more as your usage scales.
2. Investing in an Analytic Platform
There are many analytics platforms out there nowadays, and it is really easy to start using one. Google Analytics is a good start because you just need a google account to get started, and there are tons of resources out there that you can use to learn how to use. With Google Analytics you can begin to track your website traffic, clicks, conversions and many more!
There are also more advanced analytics tools such as SAS, Power BI, Tableau and many more of which can offer more in-depth analysis. Admittedly, these tools are not an easy entry for anyone, which brings us to our next step.
3. Recruiting and managing talent
As your business grows, your data grows and eventually, you’ll need a systematic way to manage your data. Hiring the right individual to design and architect your data structure and pipelines will be crucial in the early stages, more importantly, the result of that will not be seen in the short term, but your future self will be thankful for it. Some of the talents you’ll be looking for are Data Engineer, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst and many more that you can Google, which brings us to our last point.
Start Utilising Big Data!
As much as we would like to share on what to do for your business, every business needs are different, you may be at an early stage, or your business has been running for 20 years but no innovation has been made, or your business is still offline.
Regardless, we believe there’s an opportunity for every business to leverage on the potential of big data in 2021 and beyond!